We’ve written fairly extensively about how building client trust throughout a project’s lifecycle is an important part of creating happy customers and repeat business. Nothing brings this together like a case study. Fortunately, we’ve got an amazing company to profile.
Last summer we worked with Guy Bauer Productions to produce a video for Screenlight. The end result was amazing (if I do say so myself), but I was equally impressed with the entire process. Their process helped knock the project out of the park. This case study will pull back the curtain and provide a better idea about how they did it.
Building Credibility Started With Their Website
My first real touch point with Guy Bauer was their website. When I landed on their site, it was pretty clear they knew what they were doing. Their value proposition was spelled out clearly above the fold on the main page. Guy Bauer will help you “Win more customers with an amazing video”. Sounded pretty compelling, and it’s just what we were looking to do :)
This message was reinforced with a list of some of the major brands they have worked with. Of course, the subtext of this social proof is that if these leading companies trust them you should too.
The main page includes a crisp and clear description of why you should work with Guy Bauer. The site doesn't get bogged down in marketing jargon or the tools they use. In a couple paragraphs, potential clients can answer what Guy Bauer does and why they should work with them.
The copy is reinforced with a varied portfolio of their work and a description of what they did on each project. This is all presented in a clean and modern looking way. There aren’t any clunky flash players or examples that fail to load.
Other trust elements include information about the company and nice photos and videos of the people behind it. I think you get a pretty good idea of who you’ll be working with from this information. Finally, there’s the piece de resistance, a video on their process (more on that in a minute).
Overall they’ve done a great job of quickly building trust with potential clients. Together this provided a very compelling reason to click on the clearly labelled and consistently placed call to action - Start your project.
Our First Interactions Built a Foundation of Trust
The First Call
I clicked the Start Your Project button at the end of a working day and I had a response from their amazing producer within hours. A meeting was setup for the following day.
I can’t find my notes from the initial phone call, but my recollection is that they didn’t just jump straight to the deliverable. They focussed on understanding our company, the challenges that we were facing and the results we were hoping for.
We wrapped up the meeting with next steps. Rather than simply promising a proposal in a couple of days, the producer specified when I should expect it. I love deadlines when I’m on the right side of them. In this case, it sent the message that they are super organized. It’s subtle, but again it gives you reason to believe that further down the road, things will be delivered on time and on budget.
The takeaway here isn’t that you need to be on the clock responding to messages all night, but responses at this early phase of the relationship are a good way to establish quick wins that build trust.
A Proposal That Focussed on Results
After our great call, I wasn’t surprised when the proposal was delivered on time. What did surprise me was the depth of it.
I’ve been on receiving end of plenty of proposals in my professional life. This was definitely in the top tier. It was very comprehensive, covering their understanding of the project, the creative vision, plenty of examples of videos that illustrated the vision, the deliverables, a timetable, budget, more information about them, client testimonials, and the contract itself.
This is a sharp contrast to some of the proposals that I received over the course of our brand redesign project. Some proposals looked more like a simple statement of work with a price tag, while others talked about the production company, but didn’t really delve into what they could help us achieve.
The takeaway here is that you’re still in the early phase of selling yourself when you send out a proposal. Take the time to make a comprehensive proposal that shows how you understand your potential clients’ problem, that you care about it, and that you can solve it.
If you need some software to help you create and deliver fantastic proposals, check out our post on using proposal software to win more business with great proposals.
Their Process Became a Strong Selling Point
When you’re working on corporate or brand video projects you’ll often find yourself dealing with an audience that’s not well versed in video production. People come to you for your expertise and may not know the language or the process of video production. That brand manager you are working with could be working on their first video.
Guy Bauer understands that the information gap about process can be a source of tension between the creative team and the client. His company has created an amazing video that helps explain the process in a fun way. Watch it. I’ll wait and I promise that it’s worth your time.
The video clearly articulates the production process without talking down to clients. If you’re familiar with video production, the pacing and inside jokes still make it interesting. As you come out the other side of the video you know all the major steps of the process. I don’t think there’s a better layperson’s guide to color correction and audio mixing out there.
Notice how they communicate how many rounds of revisions you’ll get? Much better to explain this up front than to leave it to chance because you’re afraid to discuss it with clients. Managing expectations is key to building trust and they do an A+ job with this video.
Clear Deadlines Kept Things on Track
The pre-production meeting built on our initial conversations. The key thing that I remember from this part of the process is that they were very interested in learning as much as they could about our company, how we started, the challenge we were facing, and our objective with creating the video. They were more than happy to pour through the brand positioning documents and draft website copy that I sent them.
Once again, clear timelines for deliverables were established up front. We knew when we’d be receiving the first, second, and final drafts of the script. Just as important, we knew when we had to provide feedback in order to keep the project running according to our timetable.
Setting deadlines for feedback is a handy thing for your clients, because it gives them an early opportunity to block off some time to review the script rather than squeezing it in between all of the other things they need to get done in a day. If there are 5 people that need to provide feedback, it’s easier to coordinate schedules in advance rather than trying to squeeze it in at the last moment.
Regular Updates Meant I Could Focus on Other Things
Throughout the process, our producer kept the lines of communication wide open. During periods where we weren’t expecting any deliverables (like during the shoot), I was still provided with regular updates.
As a client, I didn’t have to waste any time wondering where things were and when something would be delivered. It can be a terribly frustrating client experience when you’re in the dark and don’t know when something will be delivered.
The other great thing about open lines of communication is that they can buy goodwill. When the team needed an extra day to polish the script, it didn’t cause any alarm about pushing things off track. They had built up enough trust that I took them at their word rather imagining a worst case scenario where they'd run into serious roadblocks.
With All The Details Taken Care of I Took a Vacation
I was sent a detailed production book shortly after we’d approved the script.
The production book had deliverables, location, contact information, the timeline for production & post, the detailed shoot schedule, examples of the shots that would be used, the final script, and a shot list.
From the client side, this deliverable provided assurance that they’d taken care of all the details. I’m usually pretty hands on with projects like this. In this case, rather than going to Chicago for the shoot, I went on vacation.
Since I was on vacation, it was nice to get some informal updates from the shoot. I could tell they were having a good time bringing the vision to life.
Smooth Sailing Through Post Production
During the gap between production and the first version of the video they provided regular updates and asked a couple of quick questions. The main thing here is that I wasn’t left wondering about how things were going.
Since they are pros, they used Screenlight to review material with us :). We provided a couple of rounds of quick feedback and moved through revisions quite quickly. All of the planning and great communication in the early stages of the project paid off.
After we’d gone through the two rounds of revisions they did the colour correction, sound design and prepared the video for final delivery.
That’s a Wrap
This whole project went extremely smoothly. It’s clear that Guy Bauer and his team have spent time in their client’s shoes and have worked hard to create a process that eases as many potential roadblocks and pain points as possible.
The real takeaway here is to look at your own process from your client’s perspective and see where you can improve things. Where do they have questions? What can you do to make things easier for them? What tasks are repeatable? What tools can you use to simplify things?
In a competitive video production market, the process you use to take clients through a project can be an important competitive differentiator and the difference between one off videos and long-term repeat business. I know Guy Bauer has created a client for life out of us.